Recent Court of Appeal case benefits developers

A recent Court of Appeal case has considered the meaning of a right of way that was granted “for all reasonable and usual purposes”. In Davill -v- Pull and another, land which had the benefit of a right of way was described as “garden” land in the original deeds. The Court found nothing in the context and background to infer that the original parties intended that the right of way could only ever be used in connection with use of the land as “garden” land.

The phrase “for all reasonable and usual purposes” was intended to prohibit unreasonable and unusual purposes. The Court held that the use of the land for the rebuilding and occupation of new houses was “reasonable and usual”. The right of way could therefore be used in connection with the residential development of the land.

The decision will be welcomed by developers. However, it does show that when granting an easement, careful drafting is required to cover future possible changes in the use of the land benefiting from the right of way. The case also highlights the importance to buyers of land which is subject to a right of way to fully understand the potential scope of the right and how it may affect their land.